IRELAND – Old Mutual Asset Management (OMAM), the London-based asset management arm of UK financial services group, Old Mutual, has set up a Dublin-domiciled fund umbrella operation, with a UK select smaller companies fund being the first sub-fund to be included in the umbrella.

The new operation will be an investement company registered in Dublin, although the funds themselves will be managed by OMAM’s teams in London. OMAM decided to go offshore in response to the increasing amount of international business among industry players. “Many of the UK IFAs that have supported us over the years have offshore clients and operations and have asked us to recreate some of our operations offshore,” says Barry Russell, director of marketing and client services at OMAM.

The decision to set up in Ireland was taken because of the forward thinking and professional attitude of the regulatory authorities there, says Russell. “We wouldn’t say that the Irish were an easy touch compared to other tax-advantageous offshore centres, but we found that they had a very hands-on approach and were keen to bring in the business. Although the tax advantages they offered were only marginally better than other offshore centres we looked at, they made it easy for us to set up there.”

There are no details about the size of the new sub-fund yet, but OMAM expects any new fund to attract at least £50m (€81m)) in its first two years of trading. “The new fund will probably start off quite small, but we wouldn’t launch anything if we felt it wouldn’t achieve £50m within two years,” Russell comments, adding that institutional investors increasingly being targeted by OMAM’s marketing.

Though there are no immediate plans for any more sub-funds at the moment, Russell is confident that the umbrella operation will grow. “We could end up with quite a few funds in there,” he says.

Elsewhere, Gerrard, another operating business unit of Old Mutual has appointed Tim May as chief operating officer and Edmond Warner as chairman.

May was previously head of IT and settlements in Investec whilst Warner moves up form his current position as chief of executive Old Mutual Financial Services (UK).